‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’

“Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains?” famously had Elizabeth Bennet claimed in Jane Austen’s celebrated novel Pride and Prejudice, thereafter adding, “Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of any thing. We will know where we have gone – we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative situation.”

Indeed, could there be no joy greater than that of climbing a mountain and gazing at a limitless view from the summit, houses reduced to the size of matchboxes, roads reduced to serpentine grey threads? Unsurpassed is the sheer happiness of losing oneself to the caress of misty clouds, of listening to the wind whispering secrets from lands far and beyond, and of revelling in the sight of mountains changing colour from a pine green, to purple blue, and to grey until they merge with the skies!

Having spent a greater part of my life growing up in the mountains, these majestic wonders of Nature have inspired me in ways more than one, moulded my thinking, shaped my thought process and I share an unparalleled bond with mountains. Oftentimes, in the midst of anything, I can hear the siren call of mountains calling me, beckoning to me, and like a lost traveller I slip into a vortex of the magic of mountains emerging happier and joyous. Undoubtedly, it is the irrefutable call of mountains that take me year after year to the mysterious heights, wherein I, invariably, lose myself to find a renewed me, the mountain air having cleansed my soul! Hence, refusing to ignore the appeal, I embarked upon an impromptu day trek last December to the mountain of Kunjapuri overlooking the holy city of Rishikesh in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, India, with a little troupe of mountain-loving folks. A group of strangers, to begin with, huddled inside a car, we drove through the several curves and turns on a chilly morning drawn that we all were to the heavenly sunrise at the summit.

A cold mountain air greeted us while a whistling wind, rustling the leaves, found ingenious ways to chill bare skin through layers of warmth. A streak of orange on the horizon separated the earth from heaven, otherwise oily black in its entirety, and a few lights like stars on earth shone in pockets.

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With bated breaths, we waited for the sun to appear listening to the few birds chirruping in ecstasy. In absolute wonder, we witnessed magic unfolding as the sky turned purple, a mellow shade of pink and mountaintops changed hues from navy to purple to pink.

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As minutes passed by, the sun peeked through a little gap between the mountains tinging the black with a warm orange, a little yellow followed and gradually the canvas of Nature came into life! 

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The wind tinkled little bells tied on the numerous branches of a tree, behind us, its giant trunk wound in scared threads and crimson red flags fluttered, the echo fading into the valley.

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Lo and behold, we could see snow-capped mountains, far beyond, change hues from golden orange to bluish-grey, the snow glistening! Quel bonheur!  

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A sea of clouds, golden and pale blue, emerged in the gradual daybreak like a vast ocean caressing the mountains and the valley with their vapoury tingle. We could hear the frenzied sounds of bells louder now as the priest prayed to the mountain goddess and a faint smell of incense intoxicated the air.

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The sun rose higher, illuminating the sky, pristine and blue, dispelling darkness, while the valley came alive in green; earlier silhouettes of conifers revealed their needle like leaves, shivering coyly in the mountain breeze while several mountain birds sang their little hearts out.

We began our slow descent, after a warm cup of tea, a lingering sweetness, through a narrow rocky mountainous path, shaded by trees in some patches and open to the limitless sky in others. The fluttering grass questioned our presence while crickets echoed their displeasure as we hiked towards civilization, into the flurry of Rishikesh!

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Descending through the narrow dry path, we witnessed the mountains, all around us, rising higher and higher while a stream that would soon break into a magnificent cascade before submitting herself into the green waters of mighty Ganges rushed beside us. Exhausted that we were, through the pulsating calf muscles, we found joy in the blue of the sky above us, in the violet of the many mountain flowers, in the rushing of the stream, and in the several shades of green that Nature draped herself in!

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Months now since the magical sunrise and I find myself slipping into the time that was, the trek that was. I can still hear the faint echo of the wind, the chime of the brass bells, the hushed gasps, twigs cracking, and little pebbles crunching. I close my eyes to embrace this feeling and I cannot help but wonder at the heap of leaves gathering upon the untrodden dusty path. I ponder about the many sunrises that birds and monkeys, loitering around in a paused locked-down world, have been privy to and at the many mountain flowers left to flutter freely in the crisp mountain air!

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Perhaps when the plague ends a renewed world will welcome our tired eyes with the wonders that Nature is busy painting and creating. Perhaps brighter will be the colours, louder will be the chirrups and perhaps I will joyously walk through mountainous roads, singing to myself, ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’!  

 

 

 

37 thoughts on “‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’

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  1. Great post! I love the views up there! The photos are great and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the horizon is almost in the same place in the “post preview” which makes a very interesting panorama!! Stay Well

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From the title to the engaging presentation, both verbal and visual – is there anything this post doesn’t have? It was an absolute joy to read this, Parikhit but that goes without saying for any of your posts. You deserve a worldwide audience!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. … a renewed world will welcome our tired eyes with the wonders that Nature is busy painting and creating. Perhaps brighter will be the colours, louder will be the chirrups and perhaps I will joyously walk through mountainous roads, singing to myself, ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’!

    IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING! I’VE BEEN ENJOYING THE OUTDOORS AND I CAN ATTEST THE AIR IS CLEANER, THE SKY BLUER, THE JOYOUS SOUNDS OF BIRDS SO LOUD AND CLEAR. COLOURS ARE PAINTING THIS WORLD!

    I got lost in your post as you put me into a world that surrounded me with such majesty and grace and beauty. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, Parikhit! Your images are stunning all of which when one’s heart is open, shout the glory found in this world. When all of us emerge from the lock-down, not only we will be forever changed, but this world as well. FOR THE BETTER!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much Amy!! You words brought about a smile and now I am grinning from ear to ear. I am so glad that you are witnessing clearer skies, birds serenading oh so happily and I sincerely hope and pray that this joy is here to stay. That we realise how much Nature wants us to stop the madness and in turn see the beauty that she presents us with always. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish and pray for the very same thing, Parikhit. I hope this is just not temporary. May those who really can make a difference do so. We deserve to breathe fresh air all the time! And so do our birds and animals! xo

        Liked by 1 person

  4. you took me there with both your wondrous words and photos … such beauty!

    And it is renewing itself in our absence, things grow brighter and stronger as our pollution stops … and we will emerge into a fresher world stronger for it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow!!! This sunrise was awesome…. I love it when people climb especially because I’m not fit enough too. I hope you can get back to climbing soon… when this ends as you say, we’ll appreciate it so much more!
    Love, light, and glitter

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was out of this world! I am glad that it brought you some happiness 🙂
      I was supposed to go for a seven day hike in a couple of days but the lock-down here has thwarted my plans but I am hopeful that once everything is back to normalcy the beauty will be outstanding. I intend to go for a hike in August and I am already excited! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This once again is beautiful, your pictures are amazing. Thank you for sharing. I pray that once again we will be released out into nature and we can heal our souls from this and yet remember that we must not take anything for granted. Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, I am being optimistic to the point of being a hopeless dreamer! 🙂 But I’m strangely certain better days are around the horizon, and that we will emerge considerate and compassionate, appreciative and respectful of everything around us.

      Like

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